For our fantasy segment of the Travelers Championship, we are going to switch things up a little. Namely, we are going to talk a little more strategy and not just list the picks for the week. The one-and-done discussion will also move to Tuesday, but rather than give a pick I’ll give scenarios of who you should consider given your standing.
Full-season gamers now know where they stand, and that should impact strategy going forward. For example, if you are leading or in the money for a game you should make your selections differently than if you are pretty far on the outside looking in. You are essentially trying to bleed the clock out.
If you are way behind, it’s time for some calculated risks. You have the luxury of not worrying about a mistake and can essentially fire at the proverbial flags. Think of it like Phil’s shot on 18 on Sunday night. It needed to go in and it didn't matter if he ran it 15 feet by. He just couldn't leave it short.
The toughest call is if you are just barely outside the money. If you have until the TOUR Championship, you could still continue to make safe plays and hope those above you get careless, but you may want to think about going against the grain on occasion.
- A-List breakdown – Regardless of your standing, put Bubba Watson on your team. If you are leading, I would consider complimenting him with Brendon de Jonge or Jason Dufner. Both seem like a safe backup should Bubba shock the world and miss the cut. Brian Davis is a good “tweener.” There’s some risk, but he’s almost as safe as Dufner and de Jonge. If you want to take a big swing, look at Nicolas Colsaerts. He’s never played here, but this course has been good to first time winners who hit the ball a long way. James Driscoll also makes sense as a risk.
- B-List breakdown – There are plenty of safe picks this week when it comes to having three of four guys playing the weekend. Justin Rose, Freddie Jacobson, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Bo Van Pelt all jump to mind. Keegan Bradley’s been a little inconsistent of late, but is a good risk for a tweener. If you are looking to go against the chalk, I’d think about Charley Hoffman, Graham DeLaet, Cameron Tringale or the defending champ Marc Leishman. There are enough good options here that you don’t need to reach past that.
- C-List breakdown – I think you’re looking at five names here. Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, John Rollins, Harris English and Ryan Moore. Because Moore is listed so far down the roster, he’s likely to be overlooked by many if you are looking to make a riskier play. He’s missed his share of cuts lately, but is twice a runner-up here and was T13 at Memorial. The safest picks are the first three I listed.
For Golf Channel picks I’m going to refer you to the weekly Rotoworld article by Mike Glasscott http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/43503/297/leishman-standing. In it are my picks, as well as those of Mike, Rob Bolton and Ned Brown. We can be fairly “chalky” from time-to-time, but that’s also telling. If you see all four of us agree on a pick, then it’s a pretty good sign that your choice for the week is to either go with the grain or against it. If you see three or four different picks in a group, pick your favorite or email/tweet someone and ask them why they chose golfer “X” in Group 3.
Where things get really interesting right now is the one-and-done. I’m centering my focus this week on nine players. I am not considering Justin Rose, Lee Westwood or Jason Dufner. Some of you have used them anyway, but for those that haven’t there are better spots down the road.
If I’m leading a league right now, I’m picking between Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson. Mahan’s concern is how he handles his finish at Merion. Watson doesn't have a top 10 since the Match Play, but TPC River Highlands has been a bit of a personal playground for him.
Because of the number of viable options this week, it actually makes sense for anyone in any position to roll with Mahan or Watson.
Fowler is an interesting option if you still have him (I don’t). He’s one for two here with a T13 in ’10, which was his last start. His problem this year has been double bogeys. TPC River Highlands generally rewards aggression and isn't all that penal. If he manages his game on the few holes where he can make a number, he should have at least 12 “green lights” per round and can make birdies.
As we mentioned yesterday, John Rollins is the perfect blend of form and course history. One thing I've picked up on this year, it seems the obvious guy has missed more than he’s hit. You don’t have to look back any further than Graeme McDowell last week. I could easily sign off on a Rollins endorsement, but I’d still be a little worried if I had him going up against Bubba or Mahan.
Course history buffs will be all over Freddie Jacobson this week. His last two starts here are Win and T8. He just missed his first cut in forever at the FedEx St. Jude and doesn't have a top 10 in a stroke play event since a T3 at Riviera. I’m inclined to let others gobble him up and hope my pick works out better. Actually, I don’t have a choice. I've already burned him.
The risks worth evaluating are Charley Hoffman, Ryan Moore, Brendon de Jonge and Nicolas Colsaerts. Hoffman tied for second last year and recently tied for eighth at the Byron Nelson. His birdie or better numbers on par 4s and 5s are excellent, so he could light it up. Ryan Moore has missed plenty of cuts lately, but we mentioned earlier about his stout resume in this event in the power rankings and good week at the Memorial above. With de Jonge, you can have reasonable confidence that he will make the cut and you’re hoping for a lighting-in-a-bottle finish. He’s sixth in bogey avoidance, which means he will get to “keep” most of his birdies. Colsaerts is a complete roll of the dice. He’s never played here, but skills are similar to Bubba who has feasted here. If you use any of these four guys it’s because you are trying to make a dramatic move.
PGA TOUR Game Standings:
- O’Sullivan’s Tribe – 7399
- Pure Spin – 6562
- Woltz – 6177
- Boots With The Fur – 6096
- Subliminal Magic – 5758
- Bird Dogs – 642
- Who’s the Caddy? – 425
- O’Sullivan’s Tribe – 407
- PelicansRule – 382
- Pure Spin - 347
Go get em this week!